What is a Pulse Generator

Welcome! Are you looking for a pulse generator, amplifier, or semi-conductor testing device? Then, this is the right place for your answers.

Maybe you are searching for a device or equipment that will allow you to test and confirm the working operation of your generating pulses. This article will give you the perfect answer.

What is a pulse generator?

A pulse generator enables you to test and monitor the amplitude, rise, and fall time output of digital output.

Keep reading to have it all, the advantages and disadvantages of generator pulses, their uses, and their functional operations.

Above all, you will get recommendations for the best pulse generator available.

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What Does Pulse Generator Mean?

A pulse generator is an electronic testing device that generates a rectangular pulse.

Additionally, it is a device that generates a periodic electrical charge. As with an electronics peacemaker, you can modify it as necessary.

It is a single or multi-voltage pulse that is adjustable for pulse rate. A pulse is quite different from a square wave because it does not need a baseline or left-right symmetry.

Unlike function generators, pulse generators are primarily used to produce pulses. Also, it controls pulse-related parameters like pulse width, rise and fall time, and more.

These pulse generators come with different kinds of applications. But the most common use of it is the bench test equipment when producing circuits of various types.

Furthermore, you can apply it to generate pulses that stimulate the logic circuits. To produce the right pulse, you need to adjust the pulses in length, delay, repetition rate, and more.

The pulse generator is similar to a function generator or arbitrary waveform generator in terms of functions.

That is to say, an arbitrary waveform generator can work in the same way as a pulse generator. This makes them multiple function test equipments.

Differences Between a Pulse Generator, a Signal Generator, an AFG, and an AWG

Recently, various instruments have been available to produce electronic signals and pulses. In fact, they come with different names and generate various outputs.

The differences between these instruments are not easily evident. Here are some of them:

Signal Generator

A signal generator is always available at the end of their sinusoidal waveform with an adjustable frequency.

When there are double channels, their output can also vary in phase. But they could be an included option to moderate the signal with a second lower frequency.

On the same note, it can be made periodic like an audio tone or non-periodic like a human voice.

In addition, this signal can have a burst inside like the color burst in the TV signal. Meanwhile, it can change between two modified frequencies like a Rigol oscilloscope demo board.

Function Generators

The function type of generator operates above the signal generator. That means it allows the generation of standard periodic functions like sine, square, triangle, etc.

Arbitrary function generators (AFGs) can produce a periodic, user-defined waveform.

In addition, the arbitrary waveform generators (AWG) vary from an AFG. As such, it is more complex with extra bells and whistles.

For more clarity, AWGs can produce a user-defined waveform of any size. On the other hand, an AFG can only produce a custom periodic waveform.

The arbitrary waveform generators that work in arbitrary waveform mode produce every sample waveform saved in the memory.

This type of generator has a limit regarding frequency precision they can identify, specifically at high frequencies.

Patterns Generator

The functions and waveforms from AFGs and AWGs could be referred to as patterns. But looking at it correctly, the instrument is not a pattern generator.

Briefly, patterns generator are those instrument that produces test patterns used in checking your TV circuit video portion.

Simply put, the pattern generator is an instrument that produces a user-defined pattern of digital logic signals or pulses.

In some cases, a patterns generator consists of many channels. Each channel can be singly modified to produce the desired sequence of a digital signal.

Pulse Generator

A pulse generator generates adjustable rate, width, amplitude, rise, and fall time pulses in frequencies.

Basically, the pulses they produce are square waves. In some cases, they refer to as pattern generators.

The major differences between modern pulse generators and other wave-generating instruments are resolution and accuracy, unlike AWGs with limited frequency precision.

The Basics of a Pulse Generator

As we now know, pulse generators make various pulses for most electronics applications. Also, there are a lot of functions and capabilities that it possesses:

Rectangular wave generation: Just as the name implies, it produces pulses that are rectangular in design. It also has the power to drive logic circuitry.

Although, they are not essentially designed for this type of application only.

Pulse width: To produce different waveforms, you have to vary the pulse width.

Repetition Rate: The speed rate of a pulse generator is an important parameter. Meanwhile, when you use it in a “free run,” you also need to vary the repetition rate.

Pulse trigger: When you use an external waveform, it is to trigger a pulse generator.

For this reason, pulse triggering can only happen either on your negative (-) or positive (+) edge through a selection switch.

Pulse amplitude: Since you need pulse amplitude to drive a logic circuit, you must adjust the amplitude. This is required because there are many other standard logic levels today.

Pulse rise and fall times: In most applications, you need to adjust a logic output’s rise and fall times. As such, it is available in a variety of pulse generators.

On this note, you can use a pulse generator either in digital or analog experiments. Even more, you can easily combine the two forms.

Moreover, elements like triggering and pulse generation typically use digital technology. But in terms of rising and fall time control, the pulse generator uses the analog experiment.

What Does It Do?

A pulse generator produces pulses specific to an application by allowing the users to vary:

  1. Length
  2. Delay
  3. Repetition
  4. Amplitude

In several cases, many application needs a square waveform (TTL) to run logic circuits.

Further, the generated pulse conforms to the standard TTL of 0 and 5 volts. In some cases, you need multiple pulses to run tests, and there are numerous channel units available.

TTL pulse generator

You need a pulse generator to produce TTL logic outputs. Therefore, you can equally refer to this generator as a TTL pulse generator.

With this type of generator, its output level will conform to the standard TTL levels of 0 and 5 volts. Meanwhile, TTL generators are popularly used.

In addition, there are different families of TTL circuits that are in use, such as standard TTL, low power, low power Schottky, and more versions.

The original or standard definition of a TTL level is already in use.

TTL “Definition”Low (volts)High (volts)
TTL input signal definition0 to 0.82.2 to 5
Frequent TTL limits are prevented from a narrower limit to improve immunity.0 to 0.42.6 to 5
For test equipment like a TTL pulse generator, the narrower TTL limits are bound to adopt.

Multiple channel pulse generators

At first, most of the later pulse generators are refers as multichannel pulse generators. This type of generator can produce many channels of pulses with independent pulse widths and delays.

It also produces different channels with independent outputs and polarities. You can use all these pulses to synchronize, delay, and trigger many devices.

For instance, even if the output is independent, they will still link to the same source in one way or the other. This enables a far more complex system to connect to a single source.

But, it is wise to multiplex the timing of many channels into a single track. As a result, it will trigger or get the same device multiple times.

What to look for in timing resolution, jitter, and rep rates of pulse generators

When looking for a pulse generator that fits your unique testing requirements, the types of equipment in this article are fine-tuned to meet a wide range of applications.

  • 2, 4, and 8 channels are available.
  • From 250ps to 10ns in resolution
  • From 1ns to 10ns of accuracy (width and delay)
  • Rates of retransmission range from 5 to 25 MHz
  • From 15ps to 400ps RMS jitter (channel-to-channel)

What is the Recall Function on the Pulse Generator Used For?

Output settings back to the original factory default settings, including:

If the unit is behaving unusually, no output, or when the output is not what it should be. The first thing you need to recall is your “0” memory location.

Furthermore, you can not edit the memory location that consists of the factory defaults. That is to say, when you load this memory, it will reset all your user-defined output.

For that reason, it will restore to the main or original default settings, including:

Channel mode

System mode

Channel width and delay

Period, trigger, and gate settings

Channel output voltage

In some units, your unit will reset back to a continuous system mode with a channel width of 1us and a period of 100us. Also, the output voltage setting will reset back to TTL (5 volts) active high output.

Therefore, recalling your default settings will not restore the baud rate or your GPIB location.

To Rent a Pulse Generator Before Making a Purchase

When you intend to rent a unit for a limited time, we offer a rental program for such a purpose. For this reason, we offer a minimum of a three-month program to meet your needs.

Besides, we know that many applications and projects have unique designs. On the same note, you will want to ensure that the item fits into your setup to match the outcome.

For some cases like this, a 30-day demo interval of the unit will be granted.

To Clone your Settings Between Two Delay Generators

In most cases, it is a great means to save time. But for you to do that, you need the right (equipment query file) for your unit and communication terminal software.

After installing the software, you must ensure that the communication is well connected with the pulse generator.

When you need more than eight channels of timing

You can synchronize multiple digital delay generators together. To do that, you need to try the output clock from one unit into the clock using the second unit.

If you need to reduce your footprint, you must also consider your custom units.

My Recommendations

These best pulse generator picks highlight the essential features of each pulse generator.

The guide is written to make it easy for you to decide which items to buy- starting with the least on top of the list.

BOJACK NE555 Timer IC NE555P Pulse Generator DIP-8oder

This gadget has a lot of amazing features. Firstly, it offers a very high timing accuracy. For this reason, the level of its temperature is highly stable and has a low price.

It also has a wide range of operating power. That means you can fit it well with TTL, CMOS, and many other logic circuits.

Notably, its output level and input trigger level will match the high and low levels of this series circuit.

Other features include; Power saving, good oscillatory frequency, versatility in use, etc.

Pulse Encoder, 5V 6mm Terminal Electronic Hand Wheel Manual Pulse Encoder

One of the most impressive features of this product is its handwheel 100 stop positions. This makes it easy to return to a normal position with no high-level output.

Another essential feature of this pulse generator is the 6mm connecting terminal type. That is to say, it is very reliable to use.

Other features include; Ultra-thin and lightweight design, metal gear, smooth rotation, and no sticking point position.

Yosoo Health Gear; Electronic Hand Wheel Manual Pulse Generator Encoder

This product’s handwheel is durable in design. This makes it easy to use and simple to install.

It is widely used for a variety of applications. For example, you can use it for CNC numerical control systems like CNC lathes, grinding machines, milling machines, etc.

Other features are high-grade metal and plastic, portable and lightweight design, and more.

5V Terminal CNC Electronic Hand Wheel; 60mm Diameter Rotary Manual Pulse Generator Encoder

This gadget has loads of unique features. To begin with, it features an easy to replace handwheel. For this reason, you can easily replace the broken ones without stress.

It also features easy to install design. This allows you to install this pulse generator and is easy to use.

Another exciting feature of this item is its durable to use. The handwheel is made of high-grade metal, and plastic allows it to last long. That means it is reliable to use.

Walfront; 100PPR 6 Terminal Electronic Hand Wheel Manual Pulse Encoder

This product is perfect for manual pulse input type. For example, it is compatible with CNC or milling machines.

It also comes with an IP54 dustproof and water resistance. This enables it to withstand unfavorable weather conditions such as water splash, oil drops, frost, etc.

This pulse generator is ultra-thin and compact in design, with metal gear. It gives you a smooth rotation, and there is no sticking point position.

BWLZSP 5V 80mm 6Pin Plastic CNC Pulser Handwheel 100PPR Manual Pulse Generator Rotary Encoder

This pulse generator has a lot of attractive features to offer you. At first, it comes with multiple advantages, like the mounting screw is intact with the main body.

On the same note, it is firm and stable, making it durable. Moreover, it is reliable with good precision well performance.

It also protects your circuit from the wrong connection, high voltage, current surge, etc. This is compatible with manual pulse input types such as CNC lathes, and CNC milling machines engraving machines.

Wrapping up

Unlike function generators, your pulse generator will enable you to generate pulses. It also helps control pulses concerning parameters like width, rise, and fall time pulses.

Meanwhile, testing the pulse of your circuits allows you to monitor and prevent your gadgets from the risk of current surge.

Reading through these blog posts, I am confident that you will want to visit our PowerVersity guide to learn more about pulse generators and how they work.

I hope you found this PowerVersity blog helpful?

If you found it helpful, kindly share your thoughts with the “Leave a Reply” form found towards the end of this page.

Finally, to read more guides like this, visit our Electrical Accessories page.

Victor Akin-Ojo
Victor Akin-Ojo
Victor Akin-Ojo is the founder and the Lead Editor of PowerVersity.com. Before starting PowerVersity.com, Victor worked in the IT industry for nearly 15 years. He worked mainly as a Field Support Engineer on Installation of VSAT, Wimax Technologies, including but not limited to Power Maintenance Sector for close to 10 years – Designing an electrical installation for Homes, Private and Government Offices and more.


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